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A beautifully illustrated introduction to Australian art history from colonization through today.
In Double Nation, Ian McLean traces the history of Australian art, from colonial art practice to twentieth-century national art. Two key themes structure the narrative: the transformation of British art practice into an Australian one and the troubled pursuit of the aesthetic means to claim an Indigenous heritage. Interrogating the canonical tradition, McLean asks why certain artists came to prominence while others have been neglected. In the process, he links the changing fortunes of artists to social and political developments both at home and abroad. With 170 illustrations, this book is an ideal introduction to the history of Australian art.
About the Author
Ian McLean is the Hugh Ramsay Chair of Australian Art History at the University of Melbourne. His books include Rattling Spears: A History of Indigenous Australian Art, also published by Reaktion Books.
"A superbly illustrated record rich in both detail and critical analysis . . . This is a compulsive read, a lively and original book that demonstrates how art can both reflect upon and challenge past and present beliefs and behaviors, and is an art history book with a difference."
— Morning Star
"McLean's brilliantly succinct and mordant text simultaneously introduces and critiques a canon of Australian art as visually gripping as it is ideologically fraught. He narrates the role of art in a history of empire and national formation which is also a history of the theft and occupation Indigenous lands. This lively and original book chronicles the role of Aboriginal nations in the making of Australian art, a narrative still unfolding today."
— Tim Barringer, Yale University